Tsinghua University – Acceptance Rate, Ranking, Notable Alumni, and More

Since its establishment in 1911, Tsinghua University has become the highest-ranked school in China and one of the best in the world. 

A major public research university, Tsinghua University in Beijing is a member of the C9 League of Chinese universities. The other schools in the C9 include Fudan University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Nanjing University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Science and Technology of China, Xi’an Jiaotong University, and Zhejiang University. 

Tsinghua University came to be thanks in part to a $20 million grant from the United States to promote interactions between the two countries. The school’s original faculty came from America, and many of its graduates transferred to schools in the U.S. to finish their studies. 

But in 1925, Tsinghua established its own full undergraduate program and started a research institute on Chinese studies. 

Today, the university consists of 20 schools and 58 university departments, 41 research institutes, 35 research centers, and 167 laboratories, including 15 national key laboratories. 

The school operates the Tsinghua University Press, publishing academic journals, textbooks, and other scholarly works. It has partnerships with both the Peking Union Medical College and the residential liberal arts college Xinya College. 

With a $4.23 billion endowment, Tsinghua College is one of the world’s top schools, responsible for training some of the greatest minds in the regions, including future 

Tsinghua University Acceptance Rate

Tsinghua University
葉又嘉, 清華大學法圖, CC BY-SA 4.0

If you look around College Gazette, you’ll find that elite schools are extremely selective, offering acceptance to only a small percentage of those who apply. 

For example, Harvard University accepts only 4.6% of those who apply. Stanford University accepts only 4.3%. 

But Tsinghua University has them all beat, offering admission to less than 1% of those who apply

Before you give up all hope of ever attending, we need to put this number into context. The percentages change according to the Chinese province from which the applicant comes. 

Also, domestic students apply to Tsinghua via the national college entrance exam, called the gaokao. Of those who take the gaokao, fewer than 0.1% receive a score high enough to gain acceptance into the university. 

Out of 300 students surveyed in 2008, 215 of the top scorers on the test chose Tsinghua as their number one school. 

Why is the number so low? The answer can be found by looking back at the school’s history. 

Tsinghua University was created in cooperation with the United States and, accordingly, it strives to be an international university. 

As we’ll see shortly, the school is open to students from outside of China, and Tsinghua University only accepts the best and the brightest from its home country. But for those within the country, the best way to be accepted into the school is to do well on the national test. 

Tsinghua University Ranking

How can Tsinghua University command such exclusive rates? Well, simply put, they do it because they’re one of the best schools in the entire world. 

Despite its name, U.S. News & World Report is respected throughout the world for its rankings of universities. 

Tsinghua University sits at #28 on its global university list and the #1 spot on the Best Global Universities in Asia and Best Global Universities in China lists. 

The school gets high marks on several other lists from the publication, including earning the top spot on global lists for chemical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, and engineering. 

Topuniversities.com gives the school a slightly higher rating, ranking it at #17 overall globally and #2 in Asia. The school gets exceptionally high marks for its academic reputation, citations from its faculty, and its reputation as an employer. 

Over at the Center for World University Rankings, the school ranks lower globally, falling at #58. But CWUR puts it at #1 in China and also gives the school recognition for the quality of its research, giving it the #29thspot on worldwide rankings for that quality. 

Of all significant ranking organizations, the Times World University Rankings puts Tsinghua the highest, giving them the #20 spot in the world. 

Like the others, the Times ranks the school number one in China, citing the high income the school generates and its excellent research. 

Notable Alumni

Because Tsinghua University is the top school in China, one with extremely high standards for students within the country, many of the country’s leaders are TU alumni

Several high-ranking figures in Chinese politics came from the school, including the current general secretary and president of China Xi Jinping, the former general secretary and president of China Hu Jintao, former chairman of the National People’s Congress Wu Bangguo, former premier Zhu Rongji, and the former first vice-premier Huang Ju. 

Other notable politicians from the university include Wu Guanzheng, governor of the People’s Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan, the current minister of finance Lou Jiwei, general Sun Li-jen, and Liang Qichao. 

In fact, the university became the namesake of the “Tsinghua clique,” a group of Communist Chinese politicians who graduated from the school. The clique includes members of the fourth generation of Chinese leadership, many of whom advance reformist and pro-democratic ideas, thanks to their connections to the United States. 

The school is no slouch outside politics, producing graduates who go on to win major awards. 

Yang Chen Ning won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work with Tsung-Dao Lee on parity nonconservation of weak interaction.

After graduating from Tsinghua in 1933, biologist Min Chueh Chang advanced the science of oral contraceptives. 

The father of modern Chinese astronomy, Zhang Yuzhe, graduated from the school in 1923. 


Like almost every other national university, the cost of attending Tsinghua University varies significantly according to the applicant’s home country. On average, fees can range from $16,182 to $64,732 a year RMB. However, international universities sometimes partner with Tsinghua to offer tuition-free programs to certain applicants. 

Likewise, tuition varies depending on the course of study. 

For those going into STEM fields such as mathematics or civil engineering, the school charges $30,000.00/year RMB in tuition. 

For those in liberal arts fields, such as law or the humanities, tuition comes to $26,000.00/year RMB. 

Art majors pay even more, with their tuition coming to $40,000.00/year RMB. 

Additionally, the school charges extra fees, such as $800 RMB for the application, $800 RMB each year for insurance, and $40.00 to $80.00 a day RMB for room and board. 

That’s a pretty pricey education, especially for international students, many of whom will need to pay extra fees. However, Tsinghua does offer financial aid for those who need it. 

In particular, students would do well to look into the two significant freshmen scholarships designed specifically for international students. These scholarships must be secured through the student’s home government and consulate, which requires extra paperwork. 

However, the scholarships can significantly lower the cost of attendance, making Tsinghua an excellent and affordable university. 

Tsinghua University Acceptance Rate for International Students

Tsinghua University
denn, Tsinghua University, CC BY-SA 2.0

As we reported earlier, Tsinghua University is extremely competitive for domestic students, offering acceptance to less than 1% of the students who take the Chinese national exam. 

But due to the school’s relationship with the United States, Tsinghua is far more open to international students. 

Over 28% of international applicants receive offers of admission. That means there are over 4,000 international students from more than 130 countries attending the school each year. 

Because of its international reputation, Tsinghua features many programs to help those from other countries feel comfortable at the school. The school goes to great lengths to help international students acclimate to Chinese culture, offering trips and internships in Beijing. Regular events expose international students to parts of everyday life in China, including sharing meals and playing sports.

At the center of these programs is Tsinghua’s International Students & Scholars Center. As the hub of information and resources for students outside of China, the ISSC strives to foster an environment in which every international student feels supported. 

The center provides for students guidance on important issues, including immigration and visas, residency, university services, campus life, and cultural activities.

As these points demonstrate, Tsinghua makes every effort to bring students from all over the world to their campus, inviting them to participate in the global community. 

Is the Tsinghua University Right For You?

With such an impressive list of alumni and accomplishments, to say nothing of its high ranking on every significant list, it’s clear that Tsinghua University has earned its reputation as one of the world’s best schools. But is it the right school for you? 

Some might look at the school’s acceptance rate, even its higher rate for international students, and decide that they can’t make it. Some might be concerned about the cultural differences of attending a school in China. Others may be dissuaded by the extra payments and paperwork required of international students.

But despite all of that, there’s still a lot to like about Tsinghua University.

Because of its ties with the United States, Tsinghua strives to make things easy for those coming from North America. The school has special scholarships, administrative departments, and programs devoted to helping international students feel comfortable. 

For a premiere international university based in the world’s largest country, it’s hard to beat Tsinghua University.

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